Jill Abramson

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Jill Abramson
Jill Abramson 2012.jpg
Abramson at Alice Tully Hall, January 28, 2012
Born Jill Ellen Abramson
(1954-03-19) March 19, 1954 (age 60)
New York City, United States
Occupation Journalist, editor, author
Notable credit(s) The New York Times (1997–present)
The Wall Street Journal (1988–1997)
The American Lawyer (1977–1986)
Time (1973–1976)
Title Executive editor
Spouse(s) Henry Little Griggs III (1981–present; 2 children)

Jill Ellen Abramson (born March 19, 1954)[1] is an American author and journalist best known as the executive editor of The New York Times. Abramson was appointed to that position in September 2011, becoming the first female executive editor in the paper's 160-year history.[2] Abramson joined the New York Times in 1997, working as the Washington bureau chief and managing editor before being named as executive editor. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal as an investigative reporter and a deputy bureau chief.[3]

In 2012, she was ranked number five on Forbes list of most powerful women.[4][5] She was also named as one of the 500 most powerful people in the world by Foreign Policy Magazine.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Abramson was born in New York City, and grew up in a Jewish home.[7] She received her high school diploma from Ethical Culture Fieldston School and a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University in 1976.[8]


While an undergraduate, she was the Arts Editor of The Harvard Independent, and worked at Time magazine from 1973 to 1976. Subsequently, she spent nearly a decade as a senior staff reporter for The American Lawyer.[9] In 1986, she was appointed as editor in chief of Legal Times in Washington, D.C., serving for two years. From 1988 to 1997, she was a senior reporter in the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal, eventually rising to deputy bureau chief. She joined The New York Times in 1997, becoming its Washington bureau chief in December 2000.[9]

Abramson was the Times' Washington Bureau chief during the turbulent period of Spring 2003 during the run-up to the war in Iraq and the Jayson Blair scandal, which led to the resignation of Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd. In a February 2013 interview, Abramson spoke of the conflict she had with Raines as D.C. bureau chief, saying, "Howell from the get-go just had no use for me. ... I did think about quitting."[10] Abramson was named to the news Managing Editor position (with co-Managing Editor John M.Geddes) by Raines' successor Bill Keller.[11]

In 1995, Abramson and her The Wall Street Journal colleague (and fellow Fieldston alumna) Jane Mayer co-authored Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, which detailed circumstances surrounding the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. Maureen Dowd would later write of having bonded with Abramson during that time.[12] From 2000–01, she was a professor at Princeton University.[9] She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.[13]

In February 2007, Abramson testified in the perjury trial of Scooter Libby, United States v. Libby. She was called as a defense witness to undercut the credibility of Judith Miller.[8]

On June 2, 2011, it was announced that Abramson would become the executive editor of the Times in September 2011, replacing Bill Keller who would step down from the position to become a full-time writer.[14]

Abramson was scheduled to address the commencement exercises of Barnard College on May 14, 2012. Her speech was canceled after President Barack Obama requested to speak instead.[15] She received an honorary degree at Fairleigh Dickinson's 69th Commencement Ceremony in May 2012.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 1981, she married Harvard classmate Henry Little Griggs III. Griggs was then president of Triad, a political public relations company. He is self-described as a "writer, editor and media-relations consultant specializing in nonprofit advocacy campaigns." They have two children.[8]

In May 2007, Abramson was seriously injured in a truck-pedestrian traffic accident near the New York Times's Times Square headquarters. She and her husband subsequently filed a lawsuit against the truck's driver, owner and operator.[8]


  • With Jane Mayer. Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. ISBN 978-0-395-63318-2
  • Where They Are Now: The Story of the Women of Harvard Law 1974. New York: Doubleday, 1986. ISBN 978-0-385-19432-7, OCLC 12314642
  • The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout. New York: Times Books, 2011. (Forthcoming in October 2011, published by Two Roads Books.)


  1. ^ "Abramson, Jill". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 4–8. ISBN 9780824211219. 
  2. ^ Preston, Peter (June 6, 2011). "Jill Abramson's achievement is historic but Times can't stay stuck in past". The Guardian. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Jill Abramson". New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ Forbes most powerful women
  5. ^ RUTH EGLASH (August 28, 2012). "Jewish women who rule! (according to Forbes)". Jpost. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The FP Power Map: The 500 most powerful people on the planet.". Foreign Policy. May–June 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu (April 24, 2013). "NY Times Editor Jill Abramson Sparks News Not Fit to Print". The Jewish Press. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d Byers, Dylan (June 2, 2011). "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Jill Abramson". Adweek. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c "Jill Abramson". The New York Times Company Official Website. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ Pompeo, Joe (February 20, 2013). "Times Editor Jill Abramson Opens Up About Layoffs, the Time She Almost Quit and Loneliness at the Top". Capital NY. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (August 1, 2003). "2 Are Appointed at The Times To Managing Editor Positions". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Maureen, Dowd (2005). Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide. Putnam Publishing Group. p. 284. 
  13. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  14. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (June 2, 2011). "Abramson to Replace Keller as The Times's Executive Editor". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ Parness, Amie (March 3, 2012). "Obama asks to deliver commencement speech at New York women's college". The Hill. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Fairleigh Dickinson University Holds 69th Commencement on May 15". Fairleigh Dickinson University. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 

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